When was Naughts and Crosses first released in its current form?
I see there were Egyptian and the Roman versions, but these are very different games.
Having spent a little while looking into this, the only clear thing is that there is no firm evidence for any distant historical first date for Tic Tac Toe. Although many people claim the Romans played this game, in the form of Terni Lapilli, and point to the large number of historical boards that exist, scratched into walls, this seems unlikely, not least because Tic Tac Toe isn't a very interesting game:
One suggestion is that the etymology of "Tic-Tac-Toe" is based on "Tit-Tat-Toe" (as in tit-for-tat retaliation), apparently from the 16th Century, but this is completely unsubstantiated.
You can read the full reference for yourself online: The Living Age, 22 October 1864, p.182.
It seems very likely that the game existed in the distant past, but being a less than engrossing pastime for anyone other than young children, distant historical references are lacking.
Key references for further research:
Noughts and Crosses/Tic Tac Toe belong to a family of games, (and in my opinion Noughts and Crosses is the runt of the litter.)
Achi, (from Ghana) and Tapatan, (from the Philippines) show that such games are well distributed across the world. If we search for the oldest abstract board games we usually run into one of the Mancala family of games, (Bao, Kalah...) which are clearly very old. This family includes Oware, (again from Ghana) which resembles Achi, and I would not be surprised if Achi is a simplification of Oware, (a child's version or someone partly remembering the rules). Staying in Africa but returning to the original question we find Three Men's Morris in North Africa 1400 BCE AND carved into English cathedrals. This leads us to the game of Nine Holes which is another alteration of the rules of TMM. (There are records of people being punished for carving Nine Holes boards into Cathedral - and I believe it was suppressed or banned in some parts of England.)
Over and over we see simplification and efficiency until we find Noughts and Crosses emerging as a rather childish descendant. Despite claims that, "The Romans played tic-tac-toe" I would suggest that this is false: They were limited to three playing pieces each which is clearly not the case with "modern Naughts and Crosses", (thank you, alan2here, for a well worded question), which seems to have emerged in the middle of the 19th Century, but as it was not patented and no one seems to have taken credit it probably evolved naturally from Nine holes in many locations at similar times, (hence the other name for it in North America.)
Wikipedia mentions the following under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tic-tac-toe
'The first print reference to "noughts and crosses", the British name, appeared in 1864. The first print reference to a game called "tick-tack-toe" occurred in 1884, but referred to "a children's game played on a slate, consisting in trying with the eyes shut to bring the pencil down on one of the numbers of a set, the number hit being scored".'
And since this game is mostly played by children, I would assume that this would be the first reference to the current form.
The game evolved from Three Men's Morris where each player had to keep 3 pieces each alternately on any of the 9 boxes and move the pieces around to form a straight line. To simplify it to children, the latter part of the game was replaced by continuing to keep more pieces and fill all 9 boxes.